Tag Archive | "Innovation"

NUIG researchers find potent new possibilities in anti-cancer gene

New research published in the Open Biology journal by researchers at NUI Galway has shown that the anti-cancer gene TP53 has more tools to fight cancer than previously thought.

The anti-cancer gene had previously been identified for its processes which prevent cancer cells from multiplying in the body. These processes were able to either trigger a cells own destruction, or prevent cell division, making it a potent anti-cancer gene.

The team at Galway, led by Professor Noel Lowndes, discovered that TP53 also directly regulates the repair of broken DNA. Professor Lowndes explains how: “Broken DNA is the most dangerous type of DNA damage as it can result in cell death or loss of genetic information in those cells that survive the break.

“There are two major competing biochemical pathways for repairing pathways for repairing broken DNA. One simply re-joins the two ends of the broken chromosome. The other uses a nearby intact DNA molecule of the same sequence as a template to repair the broken chromosome. The other uses a nearby intact DNA molecule of the same sequence as a template to repair the broken chromosome.

“Our work demonstrates that the anti-cancer gene TP53 directly influences the regulation of these pathways. Thus, loss of TP53 during cancer development will drive the evolution of cancer cells towards ever more aggressive cancer types.”

The team indicate that it hopes this discovery will impact upon diagnosis of cancer and aid improved therapeutic interventions. Other recent studies have pointed to the successful targeting of TP53 in cancer therapeutics, with one study yielding positive results for chronic myeloid leukaemia.

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Government will work with industry to boost innovation, says Minister

The Irish Government, both north and south of the border, has indicated an intent to work together with the biopharma industry to grow talent, competitiveness and innovation across the whole island. Attendees at the Biopharma Ambition Conference were told that continued partnership between the state and industry could not only boost the Irish economy, it could also help to create an environment to discover next-generation treatments for a range of diseases.

Addressing delegates at the prestigious biopharma congress which took place across a range of Dublin locations, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “We want to help continued innovation in the industry that may lead not just to more job opportunities in Ireland but also to the development of new treatments that positively impact the lives of people all across the globe.”

This pledge to continue its fine work with industry comes at a crucial time, as the uncertainty that has flowed from the Brexit vote has the potential to impact the biopharma industry in Northern Ireland, in particular, which has the potential to double in size by 2020, generating revenues of £1.6 billion per annum. The €30 billion in exports that flows from the Irish economy could also see a further 8,000 jobs added over the next three years.

Northern Ireland Economy Minister, Simon Hamilton, told delegates: “A climate which promotes partnerships between government, academia, clinical and private sectors in Northern Ireland has been central to this growth. If we are to sustain and, indeed, build upon this success, then the same spirit of collaboration will help develop new and innovative processes which will deliver, both in terms of prosperity and public health benefits.”

The organisers of the conference, BioPharmaChem Ireland, as well as the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) and the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) have called for a focus on three factors that will greatly aid the biopharma industry in Ireland reach its potential: an emphasis on talent, growth in competitiveness and growth in health innovation.

Speaking later at the conference, Minister for Health Simon Harris commented: “This conference sends a welcome signal that the industry is committed to making Ireland a real centre of excellence for biopharma – and to continuing its pursuit of new innovations that can transform the lives of patients in Ireland and elsewhere.”

A key focus from the conference, from the perspective of everyone from regulators to the companies themselves, was growing talent. While Ireland boasts an attractive offering in terms of the educated workforce it can provide to companies, more work is still needed to ensure that young professionals joining the pharma or biotech industries are equipped with the specific skills they will need to succeed in this career.

Oliver O’Connor, Chief Executive of the Irish Pharmaceutical Association, added: “In order to grow the tangible benefits of the industry and life changing solutions we are calling on both Governments, North and South, to commit to developing the talent base across the island in order to meet future demands, grow both Ireland and Northern Ireland’s competitiveness globally, and provide greater support for clinical trials, IT investment and key specialists.”

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Launch of the 20th annual science week at Government buildings

To mark the 20th annual Science Week, which takes place next week from the 8th – 15th November, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D. attended a showcase of Irish science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at Government Buildings.

The event provided an insight into the work being carried out across the country at all levels from primary schools to universities and leading companies such as Pfizer, EMC Ireland, IMB, MSD Ireland and Eli Lilly.

Speaking at the event the Taoiseach said “Science, technology and innovation have been at the core of our economic recovery. I am delighted, together with Minister English and Science Foundation Ireland, to celebrate the 20th Science Week by seeing first hand some of the astonishing work that is happening across the country and across all of our society from the students and teachers to the leading researchers in our universities and companies.”

He went on the encourage people to get involved in the events throughout the week, “Science Week will see free events taking place all across the country and it provides everyone with the opportunity to explore and discover some of the truly remarkable science, technology, engineering and maths work happening in Ireland and to discover what opportunities are out there for everyone. I encourage everyone, including public representatives, to take part, support science in their county and get involved with at least one event next week.”

Minister for Skills, Research & Innovation, Damien English explained the importance of Ireland’s talent and not just our tax,“Future proofing Ireland’s economic recovery means we have to compete on talent not just on tax. Science Week is all about inspiring talented young people to think about a STEM career and inspire them them to use their talents to shape a better future for everyone. My message to young people and their parents is that STEM offers great careers and a bright future. I agree with Bill Nye – There’s nothing I believe in more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering, for a better tomorrow, for all humankind.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland spoke about the importance of education in science, “Importantly the showcase also included children, students and their teachers who have excelled in winning national and international awards for their science projects, illustrating that there is a rich pipeline of outstanding talent to fuel Ireland’s future development and prosperity. These high achieving attendees come from all across the country illustrating the importance and pervasiveness of scientific advances to both rural and urban Ireland – a fact also reflected in this year’s Science Week programme with over 800 events planned across Ireland and an expected 250,000 participants.”

See here for more details on Science Week.

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Six of top 10 World’s Most Innovative Companies 2014 have Irish presence

Six of the top 10 companies on Forbes magazine’s list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2014 have Irish operations, with Salesforce.com coming in at No 1.

The San Francisco, California-based enterprise cloud computing applications provider, that has offices in Sandyford, Dublin, has received the recognition for the fourth year in a row now.

Forbes ranks companies on itsWorld’s Most Innovative Companies list by what it calls the companies’ ‘innovation premium’.

“(This premium is) the difference between their market capitalization and a net present value of cash flows from existing businesses (based on a proprietary formula from Credit Suisse HOLT),” Forbes states.

“The difference between them is the bonus given by equity investors on the educated hunch that the company will continue to come up with profitable new growth.”

Pharmaceuticals feature

Hot on the heels on Salesforce.com at No 2 on the list is Cheshire, Connecticut-based Alexion Pharmaceuticals. The bio-pharmaceutical company is building facilities in Dublin and Athlone.

In fifth place is bio-pharmaceutical company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Based in Tarrytown, New York, the firm is to establish a production facility in Limerick.

E-commerce giant Amazon.com, which is sixth on the list, has a development centre in Dublin.

Behind Amazon.com on the list is BioMarin Pharmaceutical, which has operations in Co Cork. Headquartered in San Rafael, California, the company develops and commercialises pharmaceuticals for serious diseases and medical conditions.

VMware is ninth on the list. The virtualisation infrastructure solutions provider is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and has offices in Dublin and Cork.

Two fully Irish companies also made it onto Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2014.

Dublin-based global healthcare supplier Perrigo is in at No 45, and global information services company Experian, also based in the Irish capital, is No 97 on the list.

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